The last leg of my recent 4-week photo trip was to camp at Mount Evans (Colorado) and photograph the beautiful scenery, wildflowers and wonderful wildlife there. And one of my main interests was the mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus). I have been long intrigued with these mammals, especially how nimble-footed they are on the rocks and boulders of the mountainous landscapes. On my first drive to the summit of Mount Evans, I found a group of about 15 goats that were foraging along a rocky area. Here are a few images I captured on that first morning:
As you can see, the goats are in the process of shedding their old coats and growing in a new, thick one for the upcoming fall/winter.
And in this next image, you can see how the goats are so nimble-footed … you can see their special “shoes”. Their hooves have a sharp outer rim that grips, and a rubbery sole that provides traction on steep or smooth surfaces. Using these tools, they can literally “wrap their feet around the rock edges”. I guess you could say they have a “one shoe fits all”! Using these specialized features, the mountain goat can swiftly and efficiently transverse peaks and narrow ledges, making it look quite easy. However, individuals can (and sometimes do) miss their footing and fall to their death. But that is the exception.
My many visits to photograph the goats included many great experiences, including watching a group of 7 newborn kids playing on a large boulder, and some wonderful catches of the goats in some very scenic places. I also had a yearling goat walk right up to me (I was sitting on a nearby boulder and photographing the group) and sniff me … that was quite a thrill as I sat quietly and let the youngster check me out! And I had one newborn walk to withing 3-feet from me and just stand and look me over … another wonderful memory! I made lots of images of the Mount Evans goats and will be sharing much more in the days to come. I even made a few, short videos that I will upload and share. So stay tuned!